(Grrr…apparently I didn’t hit publish late last night…So here’s Sabbath Monday on Tuesday).
As most of you may or may not know, I read a lot. Like 3 or more books at a time a lot.
This year I found a different book group on Goodreads via a friend called Book Riot. They do an annual book challenge. 24 books in 12 months, with different challenges, such as read a collection of essays or read a book where the main character has a mental illness or a food memoir…You get the idea.
I have read everything from Stephan Hawking to Amy Poehler. I dove into the world of Malala and her struggles overcoming of education for girls in the Middle East. I reread Charlotte’s Web and cried again with Wilbur. I’m currently trying not to freak out over Mr. King’s The Shining.
I currently finished a middle grade book called George by Alex Gino. It checks off my ‘Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender.’ The Book Riot discussion boards suggested this one. I read it in 2 days.
George is a 4th grader. She, yes she, is struggling to figure out who she is. George is technically by all biological accounts a boy. Yet she identifies with being a girl. She secretly reads Seventeen magazine and wonders what her hair would be like if she parted differently.
Her class, ironically enough, just finished reading Charlotte’s Web and are planning a play. George wants to be Charlotte, the caring spider who saves Wilbur from the typical fate of a pig. At auditions her teacher frowns and says, “No.” George tells her best friend Kelly that she thinks she’s a girl and Kelly’s reply is priceless: “If you think you’re a girl, then I think you’re a girl too!” Later Kelly helps George, now Melissa, try on some new girly clothes. Love!
I did struggle a bit with the George’s brother and mother sort of accepting this new reality. Acceptance doesn’t come that quickly usually in real life. Usually there’s more drama.
However, I also put myself in the shoes of that 4th grader who might be thinking he is a girl or she is a boy. The real life struggles might not be the same as the book. However, a book that contains some hope and some message about not being alone is huge for a child who is struggling.
The transgender issues have not been on the forefront of the news lately. However, it’s still there. For weeks earlier this year I saw a family members and friends post things on social media about Target’s new bathroom policy, how “those people” should go back to the way God created them to be, trapped in their own skins. Blech…it made me sick to my stomach.
Perhaps transgender people are the way God created them to be. Perhaps all of us are created the way God created us to be – full of hang-ups and metal illness and issues over our sexuality. And perhaps God took a step back at each of our births and said, “It is good.”
I don’t believe God purposefully gave the struggles that come with gender identity or sexuality. God wouldn’t do that. I do think God might realize that there are moments when life messes up, when biology screws up an X-chromosome with a Y or whatever. And still God stands back like an artist and pronounces it good.
For this cisgender (meaning I identify the gender I was born with) I am thankful for a book like George, for knowing I can hand it to a youth at church who might be struggling about who they are. I’m also thankful that my God declares all of creation good, whatever form that creation may be.
To those who are struggling: Know that God loves you and that you are not alone. Be proud of who you are and what God created you to be.